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Trustee Support Resources

Personnel Issues

Library boards, whether governing or advisory, are involved in personnel issues. It takes people to provide library services and programming. The board, director, and staff all share the same objective - providing the best possible library service to meet the needs of the people in their community. It is natural that they may wish to share ideas about service and work together to identify and solve problems. However, board members need to be aware of their role and level of authority in personnel matters, as well as the distinct roles and responsibilities of the library director and staff. The Roles and Authority of Governing and Advisory Boards compares their responsibilities.

This is not to say that library trustees and staff should not know each other. Indeed, trustees should make an effort to know the library personnel and to encourage opportunities for contact. Some appropriate options include asking the director to have staff:

  • Make occasional reports to the board concerning special projects.
  • Introduce a new service or explain how an existing library service works.
  • Tour board members through branches or library departments to describe operations.
  • Participate in long-range planning committees and task forces.

The board can also plan social opportunities to celebrate staff successes and to introduce new board members and new staff.